NXNE MUST SEES:: Bishop Morocco

Ultimately, my Thursday night at NXNE will be split between two equally amazing, but completely different stables of bands. I’ll finish my evening listening to Andrew Vincent - I still owe him a drunken 10K jaunt - and Camp Radio as a part of the Kelp Records showcase, but it’s the start of my evening that seems to have been custom made for my enjoyment.


The Drake is playing host to the the bands on Hand Drawn Dracula and lets me see Fields of Fur (the new band featuring Brian Borcherdt, Mike Leblanc, and Anna Edwards), Bad Tits and Bishop Morocco in the flesh. Without question, the splinter projects HDD is casually throwing out (I mean, new incarnations of BB, Mike LeBlanc, Josh Reichmann, and Seb Grainger in one year???) to the masses is pretty incredible, but I think it’s the new Jim Sayce (Tangiers, The Deadly Snakes) / Jake Fairley (Fairmont) collaboration that will ultimately make the biggest splash.


Bishop Morocco was born in Canada, but like so many of us, it grew to maturity and found itself nestled in the crooks and crannies of Europe. Dark synth pop and new wave guitars have been a staple of indie acts for the last few years, but few have managed to control emotion and tempo like Bishop Morocco does on their self-titled debut. Leveraging Josh’s techno-pop sensibility as a stabilizer, the duo fuses shimmering tones and programmed beats with melancholic bliss leaving the listener a split second from breaking into a Molly Ringwald dance routine, but somehow still reeling from the bitter sting of a broken heart and alienation.


With a record sound entrenched in sounds from the 80′s, you might ask why is Bishop Morocco so exciting? Well, to paraphrase NPR’s Eric Weiner search for happiness, good music is like Carbon. Arranged properly, you can unearth a diamond but if things don’t come together correctly, you are left with a pile if useless dust. For Jim and Josh, stripping out any unnecessary sounds before slowly adding textures that not only fit, but made the songs complete makes this record stand out. This isn’t a collection of familiar sounds rehashed to grab onto the latest trend. Sure, “Red Bird” starts simply enough; a nice mix of dark goth-ish beats, distant vocals and droning guitars you could imagine playing in any UK club in the 80′s but the guitar work that dominates the last minute gives the track that extra boost it needs. “Townies” has a delightful mopey feel, certain to draw comparisons to big name bands, but when you listen closely the static-y noise they play with puts a unique stamp on the effort.


The songs are built to be enjoyed, but the duo never lets the tracks become mindless, dance numbers. Even on moody efforts like “Eddie” and “Goodbye Night” the undercurrents, energy and sound effects keep things interesting and set the tone for the infectious, dance floor ready jams like “White City” and “Last Year’s Disco Guitars”. Bottom line, I’m not sure too many tiny venues crammed to the rafters with industry people and music bloggers would be able to get asses a-shakin’, but I’m guessing this duo will help transform The Drake into one of the best showcases of NXNE. \m/ Morocc-ON! \m/


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MP3:: Bishop Morocco - Last Year’s Disco Guitars
MYSPACE:: http://www.myspace.com/bishopmorocco



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This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 9th, 2010 at 9:02 am and is filed under 2010, Brian Borcherdt, Canada, Music. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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One Response to “NXNE MUST SEES:: Bishop Morocco”

Akai MPD18 with Ableton June 9th, 2010 at 4:45 pm

[...] Herohill » Blog Archive » NXNE MUST SEES:: Bishop Morocco [...]

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